The Alice layout has become quite popular due to its ergonomic shape. Akko launched the white acrylic version last year and recently followed up with a spray painted white version. Still there were people wanting a black version. Akko has Finally answered the call with the Alice Plus Black! Fortunately for me I got the chance to test one out myself, so allow me to share my thoughts on this keyboard with you. Its full name is: the Akko Acr Pro Alice Plus Black, but I’ll just refer to it as the Akko Plus Black in this review for the sake of simplicity.
The Alice style layout explained
The Alice layout is one that aims to give users less muscle strain by forcing the wrists outwards like normal keyboards do. It is made with a space between the left and right sides both bending a bit inwards. Both sides have a smaller space-bar instead of just one big version. There are some different variations depending on which manufacturer makes these kinds of boards. Sometimes there are no dedicated arrow keys for example. Akko has chosen to include these, which in my opinion make for a more versatile keyboard. Basically this is a 65% keyboard with a more ergonomic shape.
Unboxing the Akko Alice Plus Black
Structure: Gasket Mount
Number of Keys: 68
Case Material: Acrylic+CNC
Keycaps: ASA PBT Keycap Set Pink on Black
Switch: Akko CS Crystal Switch
Plate: Polycarbonate plate
Gasket: Silicone Socks with Regular Silicone Gaskets
PCB Thickness: 1.2mm
Plate Foam: Poron
Switch Pad: Silicone
Case Foam: EVA (not pre-installed, for users who prefer more muted sound profile)
Stabilizers: Akko Plate Mount Lubed Stabilizer (supports screw-in stabilizer as well)
Direct link to product: Here
The Akko Alice Black comes as a comprehensive package. Included in the box are:
- USB C to A cable, Coiled
- Additional keycaps from the pink on black keycap set
- Keycap puller
- Switch puller
- Extra daughterboard
- Spare silicon gaskets
- Adjustable Acrylic keyboard feet
- Hex Screwdriver
First impressions of the Alice Plus Black
The first thing that surprised me when taking out the keyboard itself was its weight. It feels a lot more solid and hefty then pictures would suggest. It made a good solid impression lifting it up and holding it in my hands. The gasket mount seems to work pretty well here too.
The finish is nice with a solid spray painted black up front and a transparent black backside which extends to the sides of the keyboard. There are 12 gold plated screws on the back which can be removed with the included hex-screwdriver. On the back is a picture with Akko’s mascot and the model name is engraved at the bottom. At first I was surprised to see a B keycap on both the left and right side of the board, but after doing some research this appears to be common with Alice style keyboards.
Akko CS Crystal Switches
The keyboard comes with Akko’s CS Crystal switches. The Crystal switches are one of the newer switches in Akko’s portfolio. They came as the name suggests in an all clear housing made of poly-carbonate. The CS Crystal switch is a relatively light linear switch. The clear housing helps to distribute RGB lights full and bright. A lot of switch housings have a bit of color on them which impacts the RGB, not with the crystal switches though.
The CS Crystal switches are a light switch with an actuation force of 43gf and just 1.6mm of pre-travel. They feel very comfortable to type on, are smooth as butter and are on the clacky side sound-wise. I didn’t feel the need to lube these switches and experienced zero spring-ping or crunchy sounds. I liked these a lot more than the CS Silver switches and could see myself using these on a daily basis.
Keycaps supplied with the Alice Plus Black
The keyboard comes with double shot pbt keycaps in the ASA profile. The theme of the included keycaps is pink on black. The keyboard doesn’t just ship with the keycaps placed on it though. A full set is included so you can re-use these keycaps on almost any board you like, even ISO builds! In my case this seems like a real possibility, as both my wife and daughter immediately fell in love with the included pink novelties all pink caps like that came with it.
No more tape-mod on the stabs needed?
A cool new feature Akko included with the board are their updated stabilizers. The come with pom housings and stems which should eliminate the need for doing band-aid mods to reduce rattling. I can confirm that I didn’t experience any rattling myself. Great job Akko!
Using the Alice Plus Black
I have used the Alice plus black for about a week before writing this review. I can honestly say I am positively surprised about this board. At first I had to get used to the shape of the keyboard. Having used a 96% board for a while now I can really get the appeal people have towards this shape and layout. The keyboard sits a bit higher than my 3098B (review here) does, so I might look for a wrist rest later on. I could use the included keyboard feet but personally I don’t like the idea of having to put these on with adhesive stickers. Meanwhile the rubber domes on the back of the board do a good job of making sure it doesn’t move away. The board also comes with extra smaller gaskets if you want more bounce.
Typing experience with the Alice Plus Black
Typing on the Alice Plus Black is a delightful experience. At first I had to retrain my muscle memory a little bit of course, but this took about a day for me. The CS Crystal switches feel VERY smooth and really combine well with the ergonomic shape of the keyboard. I can see myself using these switches more in the future! The gaskets make for a pleasant cushioned feeling and help make it more quiet as well. You can adjust the feeling, as the board also comes with extra smaller gaskets for if you want more bounce.
I later Included the optional case foam to reduce sounds even more and this really made for a totally smooth and silent board. It is nice to see the EVA foam has cut-outs in all the right places so it fits perfectly. Using this board has convinced me I can actually live with smaller sized models. Something I was always a bit hesitant to do. Typing on this board feels smooth like butter and really helps with feeling less pressure on my wrists.
As is common nowadays this board comes with optional RGB lightning as well. Thanks to the Crystal switches RGB is full and bright. The keycaps that come with the board do not shine through, but the illumination surrounding them is still pretty good thanks to the CS Crystals. The board comes with a wide variety of RGB and solid color options. From breathing to tracing your keystrokes but also screen mirroring and music mode. Screen mirroring sets the color of the board to the primary one being displayed on your monitor.
Not only is it possible to choose from a variety of colors and patterns to illuminate the switches here though. There is also a second pair of LEDS that can individually be controlled to light up the back and bottom row of the board.
These settings can all be done on the board itself, but it is even easier doing this with Akko’s software suite.
Akko Cloud software
The Akko cloud software helps you set up your keyboard the way you want it. Whether it is setting up macros or rebinding your keys. If for example you rather have Home and End instead of Del and Ins you can adjust this here. This is where all those extra keycaps come in handy! You can also make layers on your keys in the Akko Cloud software. There are people hoping Akko will make their boards compatible with VIA/QMK in the future, the Akko Cloud software isn’t the worst alternative though. It is easy to navigate and use. You can find the software at Akko’s website.
The Akko Alice is a keyboard that really surprised me. I was intrigued by the shape when I first saw these kinds of boards, but always thought it wouldn’t be my cup of tea. Well I teach my kids to try before you say no to food, the same goes for me with keyboards I guess! I absolutely love the typing experience the Alice keyboard gives me. The shape feels a bit alien at first but I adapted quickly and really found it to be comfortable.
Not only does the shape of the board contribute to the typing comfort though. The gasket design adds to this as well. But the biggest surprise to me was the fact I really like the Crystal switches that come with the board. These are very smooth and light, but not too light. They feel so incredibly good straight out of the gate that I didn’t feel the need to lube these. The same goes for the upgrades stabilizers that come with the board. These do not need a band-aid mod at all!
Is everything great? No, personally I wished there were some retractable feet on the board itself or made these a screw-in option or something. I don’t like to add things to my keyboard with adhesive stickers. I might look at a wrist rest in the future. Another thing I would personally love is a wireless option, but this is more a desire from a clean-desk standpoint. Minor things that don’t make this keyboard any less desirable. If you are looking for an ergonomically shaped keyboard which comes in a very complete package at a very competitive price, look no further!
The Alice Plus Black with discount
Want to get the Alice Plus Black with a nice 10% off? Use CLICKSMASHSTUFF as your referral code at akkogear.de or use this link. You can use this for your first order. Why not get some nice keycaps while you are at it? The black and cyan looks great on this board!
This product was sent to me by Akkogear.de for review. I did not get paid to write this review and my opinions are my own. This review is also posted in dutch at Tweakers.met you can check it out here
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